Make It Larger Than You Were Planning To

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JP33, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. JP33

    JP33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southeast, Louisiana
    After having built my first coop, ( http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus/November272009?authkey=Gv1sRgCPWv75CCq_PorQE# ) I thought I'd share my opinions and observations with new chicken keepers like myself.

    I observed the 3-4 sq' rule per chicken and this worked fine for my six hens, but I decided to add two more hens for a total of eight hens, still my coop is large enough but...

    The two new hens are older, by several months and even though all get along fairly well, things inside the coop have changed with the addition of the new birds. The older birds are as you would guess at the top of the pecking order so inside the coop, there's a little more jockying for position than before the addition. I've had to break up a few fights, nothing severe but definitely not to my liking.

    The tension inside the coop is more relevant these last few days as we have had rain, rain and more rain! [​IMG]

    So long story short about space IMO is to build larger than you think you need. My chickens free range every day but if the weather is really inclimate they may be cooped up longer than you want them too & this is where things can get out of hand.

    Another thing to consider, based on my limited experience is ease of perch access. At the end of the day, all chickens are in and most all are on the perch, but I have one hen that's a little timid, perhaps she's a little slow in the head too (From what I've observed) she just has trouble figuring things out and I find myself helping her up to the perch quite a few evenings. She would get there on her own eventually, but if my coop was deeper, she most likely would be better apt at getting up to the perch.

    Now mind you, this particular chicken is at the bottom of the pecking order, so she is looking up, trying to get up on that perch, with seven other hens staring her down. I really believe with more space in the coop these problems would be resolved.

    For the most part I am very pleased with my coop but will be deepening the coop and extending the roof on both ends as well, all as soon as this rain stops, if it ever does!

    All feedback is of course welcome and expected as I've come to find this forum is chock full of many, many members with all sorts of experience and opinions.

    Hope this post helps someone.


    ...JP
     
  2. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

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    Quote:I agree, bigger is better as long as your birds aren't freezing in a humongous area they can't warm up w/ their body heat. Problem with a bigger coop is I just keep getting more birds when I know I have the room! [​IMG]
    Your gals should settle down once they get used to the new pecking order. For your poor little gal at the bottom of the order I would consider putting in a lower roost (offset from main roost so she doesn't get pooped on). My gals on the lower end of the totem pole use this one but at first (and I'm sure they will again, if I add new birds) they all fought over the higher roost. Eventually they all accept the pecking order and life goes on.
    Good luck!
     
  3. lighthawk

    lighthawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gobles MI
    That is the one piece of advice I see here more than any other. I am planning on eight birds when all is said and done (originally 6) drew the plans then saw all the advice reccomending larger. Redrew the plans with room for 10. Thought about it for some time then started on the current plan for 15. The reasoning is this... I will start with 15 birds initially as that is pretty much the minimum I have to order. eventually culling to 8. Then after about three of four years when I need to replace the flock I can split the coop in half and cull the older flock to four while on the other side I will have ample room for the young birds. As the younger birds continue to grow I will increase the size of thier coop and decrease the number and size of the older flock side until I transition the young flock in completely. I know, I know ... the best laid plans. If I fall in love however I have ample room for all 15 birds.[​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Actually, that's not a limitation at *all*. They don't need to warm up the whole coop with their body heat. If you want them to be able to hold their body heat around them for warmth, knock together a small cooplike enclosure right around the roost, at least for winter. It is the same as having a small coop, 'cept they still have the LARGE indoor coop (the rest of it too, that is) to hang out in and not get on each others' nerves when the weather is nasty outside.

    Really truly, NO such thing as too large a coop, EVER [​IMG]

    Good luck to the O.P., they may sort it out as time goes by, have you considered adding a small table or step or suchlike to help the timid hen get up to the part of roost of her choosing, that might help?

    Pat
     
  5. JP33

    JP33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southeast, Louisiana
    "Good luck to the O.P., they may sort it out as time goes by, have you considered adding a small table or step or suchlike to help the timid hen get up to the part of roost of her choosing, that might help?"

    Pat

    Yes, I did give it some thought but decided the coop would be best if deepened a bit. This should resolve the problem ( Cindy) has getting her little butt up onto the roost. If she still has problems I may just have to build a little something special for her. I may be making it seem more problematic than it really is for her however, as she does make it to the roost, even without my help. I guess I'm just a softy & feel the need to help her when I see the wheels rolling in that lil chicken head of hers. I know, I'm an enabler![​IMG]

    My coop is really just a place for my hens to bunk as they free range all day, but when they are cooped up, I want order dang it![​IMG] Not for me but for them.


    ...JP
     
  6. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    Alaska
    I agree with Pat.
    I think sectioning off the roost for winter warm is a great Idea. that is my plan in my new coop, to help save on heating, plus the light from the heatlamp will not effect their sleep this way.

    I have also decided to face nestboxes away from the light. I can use a small flashlight if necessary.

    E4spelling
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  7. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

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    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    Quote:Actually, that's not a limitation at *all*. They don't need to warm up the whole coop with their body heat. If you want them to be able to hold their body heat around them for warmth, knock together a small cooplike enclosure right around the roost, at least for winter. It is the same as having a small coop, 'cept they still have the LARGE indoor coop (the rest of it too, that is) to hang out in and not get on each others' nerves when the weather is nasty outside.

    Really truly, NO such thing as too large a coop, EVER [​IMG]

    Good luck to the O.P., they may sort it out as time goes by, have you considered adding a small table or step or suchlike to help the timid hen get up to the part of roost of her choosing, that might help?

    Pat

    Good point Pat! I will use that argument for the next coop I design for my DH to build for me! [​IMG]
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I wish I'd seen comments like this BEFORE my coop was built too...lol. I wish my coop was DEEPER!! We'd considered an 8 x 8, but went cheap (had enough tin roofing to do what we've done) and did a 6 x 8. So now, because of the way I placed their roosts (just the way it worked out...along the long side), they don't have a lot of space to get up and down from the roosts. Oh well...live and learn.
     
  9. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Tennessee
    You might be able to avoid a construction headache by simply building a bump-out for the nests. This would gain you some valuable floor space. Leakage from rainfall can become a problem by doing that. If roof does not have enough overhang for instance, you could get leaks where the trap door meets the wall of the building. A flexible flashing would go a long way towards fixing that. A piece of vinyl baseboard would make a dandy flexible flashing if needed. [​IMG]
     
  10. JP33

    JP33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2009
    Southeast, Louisiana
    Quote:You hit the nail on the head. I am going to deepen the coop and extend the roof however. I may even do more changes than that. Once I get my tools out all bets are off. They may wind up with a chicken palace![​IMG]


    ...JP
     

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